Enhancing career development agency in emerging adulthood : an intervention using design thinking

Placeholder Show Content


Career development is an important part of emerging adulthood, the period when 18- to 30-year-olds in modern societies explore possible roles, occupations and lifestyles (Arnett, 2000). To date, most theories and interventions have focused on career decision-making (Betz, 2007); however, for emerging adults embarking on the school-to-work transition, making a single, final career decision can be a source of anxiety and depression (Rottinghaus, Jenkins & Jantzer, 2009). This study investigated the effects of a course on career development for undergraduate juniors and seniors, which used an innovative "design thinking" curriculum to help students plan creatively for life after college. The intervention was hypothesized to increase students' career development agency, a new construct based on Bandura's (1989) theory of how individuals think and act intentionally. The intervention was also hypothesized to decrease participants' psychological distress related to career concerns. The study used a quasi-experimental approach with an intervention (treatment) condition and two comparison conditions, one consisting of college students who applied for the treatment but were waitlisted, and another drawn from the general student body. An online questionnaire was administered at the beginning and after the end of the ten-week academic quarter. A multivariate analysis of variance with repeated measures showed that class participants (n = 42) increased in career development self-efficacy, and moderately decreased in career-related negative affect. The comparison conditions (n = 62) did not show these outcomes. Students in the comparison conditions also reported a rise in dysfunctional career-related beliefs, which their peers in the class did not experience. Importantly, course participants' levels of career uncertainty did not change, on average, nor did they report changes in stressful life events or situations. The effect of the intervention was not to promote career decision-making, but rather to build self-confidence through productive action, and counteract common myths about career issues in emerging adulthood. Finally, regression analyses indicated that factors of career development agency (self-efficacy and contextual stressors) were more directly predictive of career-related negative affect than career uncertainty.


Type of resource text
Form electronic; electronic resource; remote
Extent 1 online resource.
Publication date 2012
Issuance monographic
Language English


Associated with Oishi, Lindsay Noelle
Associated with Stanford University, School of Education.
Primary advisor Schwartz, Daniel L
Thesis advisor Schwartz, Daniel L
Thesis advisor Krumboltz, John D
Thesis advisor Roth, Bernard
Advisor Krumboltz, John D
Advisor Roth, Bernard


Genre Theses

Bibliographic information

Statement of responsibility Lindsay N. Oishi.
Note Submitted to the School of Education.
Thesis Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2012.
Location electronic resource

Access conditions

© 2012 by Lindsay Noelle Oishi
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).

Also listed in

Loading usage metrics...